In memory of P. Patto, our father who passed away 22 years ago on Wednesday 12 July 1995 in Ipoh GH.

In memory of P. Patto, our father who passed away 22 years ago on Wednesday 12 July 1995 in Ipoh GH.

Media statement by Democratic Action Party Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan and Publicity Secretary for Wanita DAP Kasthuri Patto on Tuesday 11 July 2017 in Batu Kawan, Penang.

P. Patto’s roaring voice resonates today, a timely reminder to Najib and his establishment to respect and uphold the rule of law and to defend politics of multi-racialism rather than the politics of racialism.

On August 4th 1982, P. Patto was invited to speak at the Dewan Tunku Chancellor of University Malaya at a forum organised by the Law Association of University Malaya. The topic? National Ideology and Basis for Malaysian Nation Building. It was Malaysia’s 25th anniversary of political independence from the British colonialists and it was at this forum he called for every citizen to be accorded his status as Malaysian first and not as Malay, Chinese, Indian, Iban, Kadazan or Dayak.

During the rule of the National Operations Council (NOC) headed by the Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak, formulated the Rukunegara consisting of 5 principles which formed the 5 pillars of nation building which are (1) Belief in God, (2) Loyalty to King and Country, (3) Upholding the Constitution, (4) Rule of Law (5) Good behaviour and morality.

The burning question now is if the government has committed itself to uphold the rule of law and sincerely and seriously fulfilling its obligation to promote multi-culturalism rather than pushing wedges between the various races in the country.

In the last 6 decades, the Malaysian constitution has been amended 57 times and is probably the most amended constitution in the world.

In his book which he did not finish writing, “Justice From My Heart” P. Patto states,

In early 1979, a special meeting of Parliament was summoned to amend the Constitution to give retrospective effect to the amendments after the Government had lost a case on the Privy Council. Retrospective effect is given to amendments every time it is ruled by the judiciary that the Government had committed irregularities and illegalities in areas in which are covered by the Constitution. By doing this, the Government regularises and legalises all commission of act of irregularities and illegalities”

Having done this, the Government still keeps on talking about its respect for the Rule of Law when the truth is that it has little respect and a lot of contempt for the Rule of Law.

After 38 years from that special meeting in Parliament and after 60 years post liberation from the colonialists, how much has changed in upholding the Rule of Law and promoting multi-culturalism?

How the government goes to great lengths to protect all those (and spouses) implicated in the epic 1MDB scandal, from the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat shows Rule by Law and not Rule of Law that reigns supreme, and this sadly spells of darker days ahead for our beloved Malaysia.

What kind of a government legalises irregularities and illegalities? What kind of a government gambles away the trust and confidence of the people by injecting the poison of racism into society? A government that is desperate to stay in power whatever the cost, even it means destroying a multi-cultural and multi-religious society.

P. Patto hated racists and religious bigots who came in many forms and shapes. And what was frighteningly true that some of these bigots in Malaysia held, and are still holding high positions in the government. He saw these bigots in government as a hindrance to a harmonious society in Malaysia.

P. Patto firmly believed that one day Malaysia would have a place in the sun for all, a place in the sun for all, a place where all Malaysians are judged not by the colour of their skin or religion but by their character. To Patto, the place in the sun is a place where no one single group of people should lay claim on Malaysia as their own. Patto believed that Malaysia is for all Malaysians. His ideal could be neatly summed up as what the Iroquois Indians had in mind about a homeland in Canada: “the land does not belong to us but …we belong to the land.”

P. Patto valiantly upheld the rule of law and fought fearlessly for a Malaysia where people are not prosecuted for what they think or say. If there is any prosecution at all, it should be for criminals such as robbers, rapists, and murderers.

Freedom should not be reserved for the Najib and Barisan Nasional’s politicians only but for all Malaysians regardless of race, gender and religion. If there is freedom in Malaysia, they know that they would not hold on to power that easily.

Freedom, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt put it in simple term: A world founded upon four essential freedoms. Freedom of speech and expression – everywhere in the world, freedom of every person to worship God in his own way – everywhere in the world, freedom from want – everywhere in the world, and freedom from fear – everywhere in the world.

My father was a humble, kind, generous and compassionate man without wealth or any official title. And yet he had a wealth of kindness and compassion in him that won him admiration and love from men and women all races. Those who knew him had only one common feeling about this man: that of respect and love.

Unlike UMNO, that not only plants seeds of hatred and divisive politics amongst races and religion, but consistently abuses the rule of law, P. Patto was a fighter of the people and in his trademark down to earth personality, brought Malaysians from all walks of life, from all races, religion and gender together under one roof to defend the downtrodden, the voiceless and the oppressed.

The late Dato Onn Jaafar made a very bold attempt to make UMNO multi-racial but unfortunately, certain groups with vested interests in UMNO strongly resisted such a move and UMNO remains today a solely Malay organisation. If UMNO had become multi-racial then at that time, probably the whole scenario of Malaysian politics would have changed for the better with no racial and political groupings.

Politics of multi-culturalism and multi-religion, rather than the politics of racialism or racism, communalism and chauvinism is key to national unity with changes in nation-building policies of the Government so that equality and fairness are not merely seen but seen to be done.

The DAP is convinced that only a Malaysian Malaysia can save Malaysia and bring about national unity and not an Indian Malaysia, a Malay Malaysia or a Chinese Malaysia. P. Patto would have wanted all government policies today geared towards creating national unity through a strict observance of equality, justice, fairness in all fields.

I wish to see the Prime Minister emulate, without fear or favour, what my father and the DAP have been championing, a Malaysian Malaysia where every Malaysian can claim, with their heads held high, that they belong to this land without discrimination in the run up to the UMNO General Assembly in the end of the year, rather than fan the fires of superiority, intolerance, chauvinism and racism for his own personal interests.

P. Patto’s roaring voice resonates today, a timely reminder to Najib and his establishment to respect and uphold the rule of law and to defend politics of multi-racialism rather than the politics of racialism.

He dies as he had lived, with his principles intact,

Even his fiercest rivals, find hard to attack,

Such was the man, with service as his motto,

Such was the man, my good friend Patto” ~ the late Thomas S.H. Lee

Kasthuri Patto

Member of Parliament for Batu Kawan

Publicity Secretary for Wanita DAP

Democratic Action Party